Because of her seemingly unending commitment to empowering and positioning underrepresented students to succeed at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Dr. Earleen Patterson, director of Student Opportunities for Academic Results (SOAR), is the 2017 winner of the Edwardsville Branch of the NAACP President’s Award.
Patterson will be awarded the distinction during the 53rd Annual Freedom Fund Banquet at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 4 in the SIUE Meridian Ballroom. Lakesha Butler, Phar.D., clinical associate professor in the SIUE Department of Pharmacy Practice, is the guest speaker and will give her address, “Not CAN but HOW?” The theme for the dinner is “From Reluctance to Resilience, YOU be the Difference.”
“Oh my goodness, where can I start in talking about the value and accomplishments of Dr. Earleen Patterson?” said Edwardsville NAACP President John Cunningham. “Dr. Patterson has dedicated her life to helping students reach their educational, professional and personal goals, and she continues to give her time, both on and off campus, to help students advance and get involved on campus.”
The SOAR Center promotes the engagement, retention and graduation of underrepresented students. Patterson has taken a holistic approach to academics that is based on a foundation of research, leadership and vision. Patterson provides resources such as mentoring, networking, internship opportunities and academic initiatives.
Patterson has worked in higher education in various capacities for almost 30 years. She earned a PhD in Higher Education from Saint Louis University. Patterson is also director of the Johnetta Haley Scholarship Academy at SIUE.
“I am grateful and honored to be receiving this award,” Patterson said. “We help create opportunities in education for underrepresented students to work toward achieving success. I love what I do for our students and the University. When you help all students excel, you enrich the lives of everyone.”
“Dr. Patterson is an amazing role model who has been a champion for students of color and those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Butler said. “She has been in the trenches for many years working toward systematic change.”
According to nursing graduate Nikita Anderson, Patterson is like a “torch” for SIUE students in their pursuit of education. “She is there to lend a helping hand to students who need her expertise. She has shown her strength and commitment through all the programs and activities she has helped developed,” Anderson said.
“Dr. Earleen Patterson has been a wonderful colleague and good friend, who has helped us dream and think, big and often, when it comes to offering services to our students and the University community in general,” said Howard Rambsy III, PhD, professor in the Department of English Language and Literature.
— SIUE administrator honored by Edwardsville NAACP —